Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Japanese Juku Students Learn About Oakland Teens

Students who showed up for their cram school (juku) class tonight with Kazuko Sensei had no idea they'd be getting a special lesson in Oakland teen culture. Saki, Akane, Yukina, Kota and Ryohei at first seemed quite reluctant/shy to meet the surprise foreign guest (me), but soon started talking a lot when I opened up the Media Academy yearbook for them to see. They were very surprised about many things they saw, but most particularly they were shocked to learn about grills through a yearbook page featuring Media mouth bling. They pointed to students at Media who look like people they know in Japan; they thought Coach Knight looked like a gangster in his spirit week 80s costume; they said that the seniors looked like they were going to the Academy Awards in their senior photos. And one student thought Aiden looked like Orlando Bloom.
Oakland teens would be equally surprised to know that even though these students are in the first week of their one-month summer break, they still go to cram school three times a week and don't finish their classes until 9:30 p.m.
I showed the students video of Media students who had recorded special questions for me to ask Japanese teenagers during my trip. The questions were on topics ranging from hairstyles and school uniforms to samurai swords and Japanese culture. The juku students gave answers to almost all the Media questions while their teacher videotaped them. I'm excited to show Media students the answers to their questions and also look forward to setting up some penpals between Media Academy students and these Ena teens.
For now, here's a little aisatsu from three of the students to Media Academy students:

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